Fragile: Handle With Care

A few weeks ago, I was changing a light bulb in a lamp in my spare bedroom. When I screwed in the bulb, the bulb flashed and burnt. At the same time, power went out in the spare bedroom and adjoining office space. A breaker needed to be reset. After I flipped the breaker, I noted that the modem in the office was blinking orange. After a few minutes and a hard reset the internet came back online.

However, my home computer was not responding. It was frozen, even after multiple restarts. The power surge had jolted my computer badly. The next morning, I once again restarted the computer, and it came on, albeit very slowly. Since then, the computer works, but it’s altered a bit. It’s often slow to start up, and sometimes the peripheral equipment like the mouse and keyboard aren’t functioning without another hard restart.

I checked online about ordering a new computer. I can get $400 credit toward a new computer if I mail the old one to Apple. The company sent me this box to package up the old computer. I haven’t completely made up my mind yet if I will buy a new one. The old one works, albeit with a few quirks that weren’t there before. It’s still serviceable, and I have a perfectly servicable laptop as a back up.

I was staring at the box a few days ago thinking if I was going to use the box to ship my computer. The words, Fragile: Handle With Care, caught my attention. That’s how I feel lately. What with all the political rhetoric flying around on social media, I feel like I want the words, Fragile: Handle with Care, slapped across my forehead.

I want my opinions respected as I respect the opinions of others. I am tired of labels that are flung carelessly and ceaselessly at both ends of the political spectrum. Aren’t we better than what we are doing now?

Libtard!

Right wing fanatic!

Fascist!

Socialist commie!

Just a few days ago, I received a direct message on Facebook from an old friend, whom I haven’t communicated with in well over twenty years. He lives in another country. The reason for his communication? His only message was to scold me for my political views which are in opposition to his own.

I happen to believe that President Trump should not be reelected. I support Joe Biden. To my old friend, this was anathema. I received a virtual lecture on the folly of my views. Is that what mattered to him most?

I have known this man for nearly 40 years. He’s a minister, a church planter, and a missionary. We’ve been friends and fellow workers in the Gospel for over 30 years. Yet, he hasn’t found time to comment on anything to me in nearly two decades except to berate me for my political views.

It would be nice if we returned to a modicum of respect for the political, cultural and religious opinions of other Americans. The erosion of respect for other viewpoints has reached a flashpoint where extremism and even violence is encouraged. Our president has consistently refused to promise to accept the results of the presidential election if he should lose.

Christians are among the most intolerant in my opinion. We should remember the message from Paul to the Ephesians: And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.* Those words leave little room for some of the perjoratives I’ve seen online from other Christians in regard to others who disagree with their viewpoint.

So, please, even if it only starts with just a few of us, let’s treat one another with respect. Let’s pretend each one of us has the words, Fragile: Handle with Care, slapped across our respective foreheads. And be tenderhearted, like Paul reminds us in his letter.

*Ephesians 4:32